“I Love Mommy” and “I Love Daddy”

One of the things we’ve been working on with Amelia lately is getting her to speak more than one word at a time…it’s been a minor frustration over the past month or so, in fact. But last night, we had a bit of a breakthrough — after a couple weeks of coaching, Amelia said “I love Daddy” at dinner and “I love Mommy” at bedtime without coaxing every individual word out of her. In fact, her “I Love Mommy” was as clear as a bell!

It’s so wonderful that these lovely phrases were the first two she’s put together…here’s to hoping that she’ll soon be a regular motor-mouth! 🙂

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Welcome News

We had another ultrasound appointment a couple weeks ago (August 12th, to be precise), so we got to check in on the twins a little bit. The appointment was at a different facility than we’ve used in the past, so all three of us (yes, Amelia went with us to see her new siblings!) got to watch the pictures live on a big flatscreen monitor. This visit was to ensure everything is OK and to screen for a couple of things (everything looks fine!), so we’ve hit a bit of a milestone and are now starting to blab our news to everyone.

So without further ado, here are the twins!

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Amelia’s Second Birthday Portraits

We took Amelia to Portrait Innovations again this year on her birthday. We got some great pictures of her again–she looked darling, especially in the yellow dress that Geitra wore when she was a little girl. Here’s a quick little gallery of the best shots!

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Doctor Appointment #2

We had our second appointment with Geitra’s OB-GYN on Thursday, and everything seems to be on track. Amelia was great during the appointment, and we all got to hear the twins’ heartbeats—one for a good while, and the other for just a little flash of time. Apparently, the first twin might be a little higher up in the womb making it easier to hear the heartbeat.

Next week is our second ultrasound appointment; hopefully, we’ll be able to get nice clear images of both kids!

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Unexpected News

So we learned a couple weeks ago that Geitra was pregnant again, and today was the day for our first ultrasound appointment in order to ensure everything was going well and get the first estimate of her due date.

But when the first question the tech asks after looking at the pictures is, “Are you using any fertility drugs?” it tends to get your attention. Because the brain does the translation very quickly to come up with “Oh my God, are we having twins???”

The answer — yes.

The first pictures of our new kids are included below. Many more to come, we’re sure!

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Vacation = 10 Seconds of Fame

Andy Warhol is famous for saying, “In the future, everyone will be world-famous for 15 minutes.” Well, Neil used up about 6 seconds of his allotment as we came home from our vacation.

When we arrived at LaGuardia Airport in New York to check in for our flight home, we were dragging about six bags with us — two of which were huge rolling bags, plus two smaller rolling bags, a large duffel bag, and a backpack. As we went into the airport, we were picked out by a video photographer and news reporter from one of the local NBC affiliates, who informed us that United and other airlines would soon be charging to even check ONE bag when flying. Long story short, Neil ended up being interviewed for a little while about the new charges, and the cameraman shot some B-roll of us getting checked in, swapping things between bags to meet weight limits, etc.

The interview was supposedly going to run nationwide that night, but if it did, we missed it — we doubt it ran, because we came back home the same day Tim Russert passed away, which took up most of the rest of the NBC newscasts that day. After that, we thought nothing of it.

But as it turns out, the video got cut into a bigger piece that ran on the Today show later the following week. Aside from identifying Neil as “Mike,” it was kind of a neat thing to see (online, of course — we don’t have the time to watch the broadcast on TV!). Thanks much to Amy for letting us know about this.

You can watch the video by clicking the “read more” link below. Neil’s six seconds of airtime happen after about a minute.

Continue reading

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Caribbean Vacation Photo Gallery

Here’s a link to a quick little gallery with some pictures from our vacation. We’ll be adding a better gallery when we get home! Now that we’re back, we’re working on adding more photos to this as we get the time…

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Things We Learned While Cruising the Caribbean

  1. Bring sunscreen. Lots of it. Because the markup in tourist traps is something like 10,000%. Okay, okay — 400%, but still…it’s sunscreen!!
  2. Sea turtles can swim up to 25 miles per hour.
  3. In colonial days, Bermudans ate their entire sea turtle population as soup. They ended up trying to repopulate the island by getting eggs from Costa Rica. When the resulting turtles reached sexual maturity — 40 years later — they turned out to all be male, because Bermuda’s subtropical waters aren’t warm enough to produce female sea turtles. Oops.
  4. Weigh your luggage before going to the airport. ‘Nuff said.
  5. After visiting a beach in Bermuda and getting back on the glass-bottomed boat to return to the ship, make sure your driver’s license and cruise ID are still in your possession and not somehow dropped on the beach, thus requiring your husband to prepare for a fast run back to the beach while you — the one who actually lost said IDs — enjoy a free rum swizzle on the boat. Also, be thankful for kind fellow cruisers who found the IDs and returned them without the husband getting sweaty and frustrated, thereby allowing him to actually enjoy his rum swizzle as well.
  6. Have we mentioned sunscreen?
  7. Due to her classical soprano training, Geitra can hold an extremely high scream across the final 500-foot rope traverse during a canopy tour. She’ll still have breath to continue the scream upon completing the traverse.
  8. When visiting Old San Juan, there’s not much point in getting showers and dressing nicely for dinner when you’re going to walk 15 blocks uphill to dinner in 80-degree heat. In the rain.
  9. Linen clothing, light as it may be, is surprisingly warm. This is directly related to the previous lesson.
  10. Another note about dinner in Old San Juan — when reading the cruise line-provided map, there’s a difference between an uppercase “A” (marking the restaurant we wanted to go to) and a lowercase “a” (marking, apparently, a museum). As a result, Neil didn’t exactly get us guided to the birthplace of the piña colada where hoped to eat, but we did still find a nice place dinner — and it was out of the rain.
  11. One of the most popular souvenir themes in San Juan is the “topless woman” theme — it’s on towels, T-shirts, everything! And no, Neil didn’t  buy any of these…
  12. The passage of time is loosely recognized on Caribbean islands…as exemplified by our Grand Turk tour guide, who figured it might be a good idea to get us all on his bus for the trip back to the ship around the time that we were supposed be on board the ship. Luckily, the ship won’t leave you behind if a tour you organized through the ship isn’t back yet — but if you’re late on your own, they’ll bail!
  13. Sunscreen. Sunscreen. And sunscreen.
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Caribbean Vacation, Days Eight and Nine – At Sea

This is the only way to travel — hour after hour of sitting in a lounge chair on the upper decks, soaking in the sun and hopping in the pool when you get too hot. Nothing to worry about except when one of the roving waiters will come around to take drink orders, and refreshing the sunscreen every few hours. Just wonderful.

It’s just too bad it has to end. But it’s going to be great to get back home to Amelia again…we’ve missed her tons. And besides…if vacation never ended, we wouldn’t enjoy it as much because we wouldn’t have “real life” to compare it too!

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Caribbean Vacation, Day Seven – Grand Turk, Turks and Caicos Islands

Grand Turk is the capital of Turks and Caicos Islands. Despite that, the island’s population more than doubled when our ship — which has about 4,500 people on board — docked. The island is about seven miles long and one-and-a-half miles wide, and it’s very, very flat. It’s also beautiful — this and Bermuda were our favorite stops on the cruise.

Unfortunately, our stop started off a bit roughly when we discovered that the ship’s shore excursion team had accidentally issued too many tickets for our “Mini-Boat Adventure” excursion…it turns out that they issued “first departure” tickets to everyone who scheduled this excursion, including the “second departure” group. Emotions ran a little high until the ship’s excursion team was able to figure out what was going on, which took about an hour. In the end, though, we were able to do what we wanted to do — so all’s well that ends well.

While we waited for our excursion, we bought some more souvenirs, restocked our sunscreen (now that was expensive), and grabbed some lunch at the giant Margaritaville restaurant complex. While the concept of having a bar just a few inches above a swimming pool is great, it would be a good idea for the restaurant to focus on some of the basics — like, oh, say…food and service? The cheeseburgers may be in paradise, but we weren’t.

All was forgotten when we got to our excursion, though…the mini-boats were great!! The boats were a fiberglass shell with inflatable sidewalls, powered by an outboard motor. The seating was an island in the middle that two people straddled like a motorcycle, with a steering wheel and throttle for control. After our safety briefing, off we went — racing across the waves along the coast of Grand Turk, heading away from shore to a nice spot for snorkeling. All ten boats stopped and were lashed together by our guides, and most of the people on the tour took the opportunity to snorkel and enjoy the sea life — fish, crabs, lobster, and sharks. Then it was back to the boats for another 10-minute trip farther down the shore, where we beached the boats and spent about 20 minutes enjoying a private beach. Unfortunately, all good things must come to an end, so we got back in the boats again and headed back to the ship…including hanging out aft of the ship for a photo opportunity before heading to shore to wrap up.

Of course, due to a somewhat late arrival into port, our tour was the last one to wrap up and head back to the ship. Nearly all of the shops near the port had closed, but Geitra made a quick dash to one shop to pick up a piece of jewelry she had found right before our excursion left. So while Neil kept a wary eye on the last member of the ship’s crew on the dock, Geitra bought one last souvenir from a woman who re-opened her store to make the sale. As a result, we were the last people to leave the port and head back to the ship — but luckily, the captain hadn’t pulled away yet so we saved ourselves the embarrassment of our fellow passengers on the previous day.

After dinner, we headed to one of the lounges for the “Who Wants To Be A Rock Star” event — basically, an opportunity to front the ship’s house rock band, Wavelength, for a song of two. Neil had just enough alcohol to think that doing a cover of the Guns ‘N’ Roses classic “Sweet Child ‘O Mine” was a good idea — probably the first time in history the song has been sung by someone in a button-down shirt and loafers. But he managed not to embarrass himself — or more importantly, Geitra — too badly despite the band performing the song about a half-octave lower than Neil’s voice was ready for. We’ll see if he decides to do another round on the last night of the cruise.

Grand Turk was a wonderful end to the shore excursions for this cruise — and the boat adventure was a high point. From here, we’ve got two days of nothing but relaxation to focus on while we’re at sea, heading back to the New York port.

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